St Peter's Church - St Mary Bourne


St Peter's Church


Dating from the 12th century this is without doubt the oldest of the remaining buildings in the village housing a wealth of historical artefacts. Look inside for the old wall paintings including texts in the nave and south aisle and a Royal Coat of Arms of Charles I and the black marble font from Tournai. In the church yard there is an ancient yew almost as old as the church, and nine listed table tombs.

 

St Peter's Church is St Mary Bourne's oldest building. For most of the last millennium, the Church has stood as a witness to the Christian faith of countless generations of village residents. Possibly there was a simpler, wooden church here even before that, from Saxon times. The first stone church was built in Norman times, ca 1150, and was much smaller than the one we now see. But whilst it is ancient. it also points to the present reality and relevance of God. We are very grateful to those, who in living memory have cared for the church, and enabled it to serve the community simply by being here.Church of St Peter

Amongst one of recent church projects are the many varied kneelers illustrating the range of Clubs, Societies and interests in the village of the 1990s. The beautifully embroidered banner was dedicated in 2000, as was the millennial stone near the font.

Heard but not seen, the Church bells ring out along the valley and over the hills after refurbishment in 1997. All the bell supports were replaced and the bells re-hung by Whites of Appleton who were commissioned in 1999 to re-hang the bells of St Paul's Cathedral to commemorate the Queen Mother's one hundredth birthday. One of the original bell wheels has been preserved and can be seen at the rear of the tower bell chamber. The bells are rung before Sunday morning and evening services and the ringers practise each Thurday evening and welcome visitors and anyone interested in learning this facinating art.   

For reasons that are now not at all obvious, the black marble font was brought here. It is a medieval treasure, worked in Tournai, in what is now Belgium, and brought here by boat perhaps 800 years ago. There are only three others, all of different designs, in Hampshire - the nearest in Winchester Cathedral - seven in the whole country. No one knows why one is here. When the north and south aisles were built, enlarging the small Norman church, why were the pillars not built opposite one another? No one knows.

See website: www.stmarybourne.org.uk

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